The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (aka, "the Drug Czar") has asked for citizen input on overhauling our nation's drug policy. What would you recommend the agency consider?
While America has Drug policy which clearly spell what constitutes a crime with drug trafficking, and the penalties which such crimes attract, the law has not brought down these crimes. At the time when use of illegal drugs was announced and the policy with hard line measures on drug users signed into law, there has been an increase in number of offenders arrested and imprisoned because of drugs. Many problems associated with drug use and diseases like HIV have a high prevalence in America compared to other Western countries. Although the issue of drugs might not very common in the public view, the dangers drugs are causing among minority populations are evident (Meier and Geis 2006).
America’s drug policy is very wide but has not addressed the issue of drugs from all perspectives. Of the total budgetary allocation for drug control, over 70% is spend in law enforcement leading to so many people being arrested and imprisoned if they plead guilty.
The cost of drugs being so low attracts many buyers. This makes any efforts to fight drug use and crimes which result due to the use of illegal drugs very difficult as there are multiple sources of drugs into the market. The high number of people arrested for drug possession or drug related crimes speak a lot on how weak American policy on drugs is. It was expected that due to tough rules and punishment for drug possession, the cost of these illegal drugs should be high in order to discourage their usage because of high cost. It appears drugs from several countries and Mexico get their place in America because of the high demand of drugs. So long as Americans continue to use drugs, the war on drugs is impossible to win (Ruiz and Strain, 2011).
Another weakness in current drug policy is that, while the federal government comes up with tough measures to deal with drug issues, states in America are independent to make their laws which can legalize or illegalize the use of drugs (Meier and Geis 2006).
However, research has indicated few America support policy changes and tough sentencing policies as a means to end the drug menace in America. This seems to be true in the government with the president and justice systems trying to get substitutes to hard line positions in the policy (Peter, 2008).
The fact that a drug like Marijuana is allowed legally to be used for medical reason poses a great threat in the war against drugs. Law enforcers are not supposed to be so strict when dealing with health facilities designated to offer clinical marijuana. However, there are safeguard measures in place to ensure that the drug is used only for intended purposes (Meier and Geis 2006).
Generally one can say implementation of hard line policy positions on illegal drug use has led to increased drug use in America. The government needs to rethink its policy decisions, in corporate public opinion and revise policies on drug and related issue in America. There is need for shifting emphasis from control of drug use through arresting and imprisonment, to educating the public on dangers of drugs use and effect on economy; treatment and rehabilitation of those affected with drugs, and training locally influential people in the society on prevention of drug use in society especially on how to identify drug abuse early before addiction develops. There is need for adopting a global approach to curbing drug importation and availability.